Excerpt: Conducting a Protective Security Advance

Advance Teams protect employees visiting a potentially dangerous area. This book excerpt looks at some key considerations for getting the job done.

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My purpose in this book is not simply to produce another set of checklists that protective agents can use. My purpose is to encourage you to adapt, expand and modify any checklist you use in any way that enables you to better serve your principal. Several quality checklists have been written and published by other experienced professionals and serve as adequate templates you can use to create your own. By far the best and most extensive checklist in the protective services profession is the Executive Protection Specialist Handbook, by Jerry Glazebrook and Nick Nicholson, published by Varro Press. This is a convenient pocket size book you can carry all the time.

Your checklist needs to include details about your principal's likes and dislikes or any special requirements he may have. For example, does your principal have any medical condition that requires specialized equipment such as oxygen or a heart defibrillator? Does he need to avoid microwave ovens because of his pacemaker? Include these critical items and special considerations in your checklist so you don't forget them. Here's another example of customizing your checklist: If your team uses satellite telephones you may have the type of equipment that needs to be pointed at the area of the sky where the satellite is located. If your satellite is in the western sky, and your control room faces east, you are going to have a big problem when it comes time to set up your antenna or dish. Make an entry of that requirement in your checklist.

When you are talking face to face with a POC who is the individual responsible for some site on your itinerary, your checklists can help you with questions during you meeting with him. Checklists will help keep you from appearing incompetent or unprofessional because you will be able to cover one subject completely before moving on to the next instead of jumping around from subject to subject with no obvious methodology. In addition, checklists form the base of the information your command post will need. Checklists also enable you to consolidate information in a form that can be readily identified with a specific site, which greatly facilitates information retrieval. You can also use checklists as an assist when you are briefing support personnel or other members of your team.

Make these checklists your own and they can help you in obtaining a ­professional result from you advance work.

Use 3 x 5 Cards

I recommend that protective service agents, if nothing else, use 3" x 5" cards to transcribe information contained in checklists to a writing media that is small, neat, and fits well in a suit coat pocket. Use one card for general information such as police and fire department POC names and phone numbers along with the names, call signs, or phone numbers for other protective service agents, the command post, and other security posts, such as a separate residence watch for that mission.

Information pertaining to a specific day's activities such as the daily itinerary, POC names and phone numbers for the locations to be visited on that day, and any other information the agent deems necessary can be written on another card. You can use these readily available cards to refresh your memory, contact someone to forward information, or answer questions the principal may have about the mission.

In this modern time, use of Personal Digital Assistants or PDAs can be very helpful. Blackberry capable cellular phones and other personal computer devices let you carry a wealth of information with you. You can even download maps, diagrams, reports, spread sheets, and other information you may need to these devices.

Remember though, if you're working in third world environments or in high risk areas, Wal-Mart may not be around the corner and you may not be able to find the correct style of batteries to run this equipment when needed. 3 x 5 cards require no power source and remain viable tools in this regard.

The point here is to make sure you have the information you need with you as you work and travel around. When your PSO or principal asks you a question, you should be able to answer it quickly and accurately. It is no good to simply have it written down back at the command post, you need it with you at all times.

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